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AppDate: Easy access to Mac OS apps 

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In the week’s AppDate, SEAN BACHER highlights the MacPaw Setapp service, WumDrop’s Deliver 2 Me, Vodacom Facebook Flex, LastPass Password Manager and Find My Kids – GPS Tracker.

MacPaw Setapp service

Finding third-party Mac OS apps can be difficult and rather expensive. However, MacPaw’s recently launched Setapp service allows users to install a range of premium productivity, video, utility and development apps easily and at a reasonable price. Users simply install the Setapp service and can then select and install more than 60 apps for a monthly fee.

Platform: Mac OS 10 and above

Stockiest: www.setapp.com

Expect to pay: R145 per month

 

WumDrop’s Deliver 2 Me

WumDrop’s Deliver 2 Me is a delivery solution that uses the real time location of users’ mobile phones, giving them the power to choose the hour that they would like their order delivered and the exact location.  Once users place an order, they receive a notification when it is ready for delivery. They can then choose a time and, should they select “deliver now”, the parcel will be delivered to the exact GPS coordinates picked up from their phone.

Platform: Most up-to-date Internet browsers

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

Expect to pay: A free download, but delivery charges vary according to location, parcel dimensions and time.

 

Vodacom Facebook Flex

Vodacom’s Facebook Flex is one of the latest products to launch under its Siyakha platform. It gives customers the opportunity to connect with friends and family using a basic version of Facebook for free. Once signed up to the service, Vodacom subscribers can update their Facebook status and comment on posts even when they do not have data. Should users wish to view pictures or videos, they can easily switch from the free version to data mode to access the full Facebook service.

Platform: Most modern cellphones connected to the Vodacom network.

Stockists: To use Facebook Flex, customers can log on to Facebook.com or dial *111*32#.

Expect to pay: Free to use.

 

LastPass Password Manager

LastPass is a password manager and password generator that locks passwords and personal information in a secure vault. LastPass autofills web browser and app logins and generates new, secure passwords instantly. One password is all a user needs, as the app handles the rest. In addition to just storing passwords, LastPass is able to create online shopping profiles, generate strong passwords and track personal information in photo and audio notes. Just remember to choose a strong password for LastPass!

Platfom: Android and iOS

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

Expect to pay: A free download – but with in-app purchases.

 

Find My Kids – GPS Tracker

Find My Kids tracks lost or wandering children via their smartphones. Parents can automatically receive location alerts when their child returns home or arrives at school, as well as easily keep track of them without having to constantly ask where they are. It also monitors their battery levels, so parents know if a phone is dead or if they are  just being ignored.

Platform: Android and iOS

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

Expect to pay: A free download, but with loads of advertising and in-app purchases.

 

* Sean Bacher is editor of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @SeanBacher

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Huge appetite for foldable phones – when prices fall

Samsung, Huawei and Motorola have all shown their cards, but consumers are concerned about durability, size, and enhanced use cases, according to Strategy Analytics

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Foldable devices are a long-awaited disrupter in the smartphone market, exciting leading-edge early adopters keen for a bold new type of device. But the acceptance of foldable devices by mainstream segments will depend on the extent to which the current barriers to adoption are addressed.

Major brands have been throwing their foldable bets into the hat to see what the market wants from a foldable, namely how big the screens should be and how the devices should fold. Samsung and Huawei have both designed devices that unfold from smartphones to tablets, each with their own method of how the devices go about folding. Motorola has recently designed a smartphone that folds in half, and it resembles a flip phone.

Assessing consumer desire for foldable smartphones, a new report from the User Experience Strategies group at Strategy Analytics has found that the perceived value of the foldable form does not outweigh the added cost.

Key report findings include:

  • The idea of having a larger-displayed smartphone in a portable size is perceived as valuable to the vast majority of consumers in the UK and the US. But, willingness to pay extra for a foldable device does not align with the desire to purchase one. Manufacturers must understand that there will be low sell-through until costs come down.
  • But as the acceptance for traditional smartphone display sizes continues to increase, so does the imposed friction of trying to use them one-handed. Unless a foldable phone has a wider folded state, entering text when closed is too cumbersome, forcing users to utilize two hands to enter text, when in the opened state.
  • Use cases need to be adequately demonstrated for consumers to fully understand and appreciate the potential for a foldable phone, though their priorities seemed fixed on promoting ‘two devices in one’ equaling a better video viewing experience. Identification and promotion of meaningful new use cases will be vital to success.

Christopher Dodge, Associate Director, UXIP and report author said: “As multitasking will look to be a core selling point for foldable phones, it is imperative that the execution be simplified and intuitive. Our data suggests there are a lot of uncertainties that come with foldable phone ownership, stemming mainly from concerns with durability and size, in addition to concerns over enhanced use cases.

“But our data also shows that when the consumers are able to use a foldable phone in hand, there is a solid reduction of doubt and concern about the concept. This means that the in-store experience may more important than ever in driving awareness, capabilities, and potential use cases.”

Said Paul Brown, Director, UXIP: “The big question is whether the perceived value will outweigh the added cost; and the initial response from consumers is ‘no.’ The ability for foldable displays to resolve real consumer pain-points is, in our view critical to whether these devices will become a niche segment of the smartphone market or the dominant form-factor of the future. Until costs come down, these devices will not take off.”

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Huawei puts $1-bn into local developer programme

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Huawei Mobile Services (HMS) South Africa has announced the launch of a local Developer Programme called Shining-Star. Huawei announced an investment of $1-billion in support of this programme across global markets, of which South Africa forms part.

‘‘HMS already has more than 570 million global users, including more than 15 million in Africa, with our business covering more than 170 countries,’’ says Likun Zhao, vice president of Huawei Consumer Business Group for Middle East and Africa. “We provide a trusted, device-centric and inter-connected eco-system that improves the user experience, helping them to discover quality content while ensuring security and privacy.”

The developer programme, announced at AfricaCom in Cape Town last week, is the first of its kind in South Africa. Huawei says it “will provide an encompassing eco-system that aims to encourage local developer innovation and support, while Huawei’s AppGallery provides a platform for developers to showcase and publish their apps”.

The platform offers open e-point access and intelligent global distribution for all apps, ranging from smart home, gaming and music to education and health-related apps.

The Shining-Star Programme has been successfully implemented in Malaysia, which has the highest number of Huawei users relative to other smartphone brands in this country. Like Malaysia, South Africa has a considerable number of Huawei users.

Shining-Star will focus on assisting local app developers who face challenges like lack of funding for app eco-systems, testing, and monetisation of their apps. South African developers particularly struggle to market their games and find investors.

“We are committed to working on empowering local app developers by offering them some much-needed infrastructure, guidance, skills and support to grow local talent,” said Zhao. “Our focus is to provide an open platform for developers that they can use to launch and market their apps, as well as give them extensive support in the form of technical development, testing, and legal and marketing tools.”

Huawei HMS Core is a hub with tools like the Account Kit, which enables users to access developers’ apps using Huawei IDs; Game Service, which enables game development; Location Kit, which provides developers with hybrid locations; Drive Kit, a data storage and management solution; and Map Kit, which offers customisation of map formats to developers.

In addition to these developer-specific tools, the Huawei HMS Core hub has growth enablers like the Push Kit and an Analytics Kit, which enable, respectively, the sending of messages and analysis of user behaviour. An Ad Kit and In-App Purchases Kit are also available, so developers can earn income from their apps. Key resources such as API reference, development guides and sample code assist are also part of the programme.

At present, more than 50,000 apps are connected to HMS Core worldwide.

* App developers with a completed app can visit https://developer.huawei.com/consumer/en/, or contact the Huawei SA Business Development team on developersa@huawei.com to find out how Huawei can support them.

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